Most people by now will be aware of the somewhat subdued British press reaction to J. Craig Venter’s team’s creation of the first self-replicating cell designed by computer. The BBC made some silly references to the hand of god and otherwise really didn’t do the subject justice.
Is this some mad-scientist tinkering or the real thing? Well most folk will never know as any in-depth conversation on the subject is too dry for public consumption and so your average Sun reader will no doubt continue to think that Venter sits there with a vial of chemicals doctoring cells.
All I can offer is the suggestion that you take a look at the TED video on this subject… this is FAR from mad-scientist stuff. Venter’s team understand so much at this point that rather than making a simple modification, their computer-designed DNA actually contains not only enough information to affect the design of the cell, but while allowing the cell to be viable, they’ve managed to ensure that the DNA of each replicated cell not only contained coded information on the names of the design team but they also have three QUOTES in there!!! Talk about proving the point!!!
Those of you who watched BLADE RUNNER will remember the artificial snake who’s skin sample contained a manufacturing number. Well, Venter and his team are FAR, FAR away from doing anything like that in terms of a snake – but on the other hand the information they’ve implanted in the DNA is WAY ahead of a simple manufacturing number.
If you can stomach the technical babble this is well worth watching.